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[mapping] Advanced Texturing

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I decided it was time to write up an advanced tutorial on texturing. I see a lot of maps these days poorly textured because of either laziness or because they don’t know the fundamentals of texturing. In this tutorial I will go through everything from texturing a field to outlining a road and a river. WARNING! Unless you are familiar with the very basics of world builder you will be lost. Lets begin !




++++++++++++++++++++ Base Textures ++++++++++++++++

These are the textures you would flood your whole map with when starting the texturing stage. These are textures that look good in bulk. By this I mean when spread out over a large area its hard to notice the texture as a single tile but rather as one big giant texture that covers the map. Here are some examples


Base texture that looks good in bulk. This grass texture fits nicely for doing a temperate map. It allows for flexibility with more textures further in the process of texturing your map.




Base texture that looks bad in bulk. This type of texture is bad for the overall map as a base texture. Its hard to match textures that go with it and the flooding of this texture is not keen to the eye. You can notice a pattern and is not recommended to have this texture in a large area at once.







++++++++++++++++++++ Transition textures +++++++++++++++++

From going from one base texture to another and the process of making your map stand out above the rest is using Transition textures. These allow you to blend base textures more smoothly then the blending tools would let you. It is a more natural look towards your map and will ultimately make it look good if done correctly. For the purpose of understanding the rest of this tutorial here is a diagram of base textures and their corresponding transition textures.


Yellow and red stand for opposite base textures while orange stands for transition textures.

The goal is to blend your textures as smoothly as possible using as little or as many transition textures needed to get a smooth result it could take as many as 1 single transition as seen at the bottom or as many 5 as seen at the top. From my experiences the average is around 2-3 to go from one base texture to another.



Remember the goal of transition textures it to get from one base texture to the next as smoothly as possible lets see these textures blended!



As you can see it’s a smooth transition from one end to the other.



Transition textures look horrible over a large area, their purpose is to provide a smooth transition and to get rid of contrasting lines in texturing. When placing these textures don’t use a tile size bigger then 3 tiles. I Usually use 2 to 3. Once you have your two base textures that you want to blend just outline it starting with one base texture and moving your way outward to the next as shown here.




++++++++++++++++++ Pairing up base textures +++++++++++++++++++++++++++

When making a field or an open area lets say a flat area where one would build a base. You don’t have much to work with here terrain wise so your only hope to make these often boring areas seem interesting, is with multiple textures. When creating a grassy field I often choose two textures which I think go together and then choose a transition texture to go with them to get a smooth blend between them. In this example I will be using a light grass and a dark grass. Side by side it doesn’t look to good hard contrasting colors you can see clearly where one starts and the other ends.



But when I find a transition texture that has a little bit of both it makes a huge difference.

Smooth Blending of two bases textures, that’s what we want!



But still…. A field is a field is it not? What else is flat that you can build a base on? That’s right!


++++++++++++++++++++ Roads and paths. +++++++++++++++++++++


EA has done a very nice job of giving us some roads that have a nice blending edge to them but still its not enough to make it an effective blend onto your field. We need to place a texture under it to give it the feeling its been there a while and is in fact part of the map and wasn’t laid down five seconds ago. The more transitions you use for your road the better it looks but don’t go over the top the most you would need is 3.

Here is a example of 2 transitions to none at all.




Now your starting areas and fields have some nice features alternating textures and roads. Assuming your map is not one big giant field your going to need to texture some cliffs and that’s what I will talk about next.


+++++++++++++++++++++ Cliffs +++++++++++++++++++++++++

They add the 3rd dimension to your map gives it height and governs game play. Making them look presentable in your map can be tricky but again, with transitions anything is possible. Cliffs are very contrasting to your base texture they don’t count as a base texture but need to be smoothly blended into one. The idea is to match colors and textures types, rocks with rocks, dirt with dirt, brown with brown and then into grass, sand, what ever setting your map is. Here is an example. Again use as many textures as needed to go to a smooth transition but try to stay within three. Because Cliffs are not base textures I labeled them white.







Now you have nice looking cliffs but at the bottom of these cliffs you might have a river.


++++++++++++++++++++++ Rivers +++++++++++++++++

They are often lined with a muddy bank or rocks in the real world but from what I often see, it looks like grass grows under water as well in some maps ;). Lets fix that.


Keep it a medium toned texture for the bottom of your river and transition the textures out from the bottom of the river and into your base textures this again shows that the river has been there a while and carved out the land with rocky/muddy banks. Here is an example






At this point your have a clear understanding of texturing but some times you wont find what your looking for when it comes to transition textures, so when all else fails we need to make our own.


With two contrasting textures its often hard to place them side by side without getting a bad look but to try to compensate for this it’s a good practice to bleed one texture into the other and blending it. Your brain will try to blend the textures from there to give it a fake transition but it wont be perfect like the regular transition textures. For a last resort this is how its done. Chose two base textures and pick one to bleed into the other using a tile size of 1 draw thin lines “bleeding” into the other and blend it once your done. This technique may take a few times to perfect and often you will see unblended tiles. Ctrl + Z and start again.


This is the result you want to get.





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Not perfect. But it will do. Try to avoid this method as much as possible.



++++++++++++++++++ Special Textures +++++++++++++++++++++++


Moving on Ill talk about textures that are only good in creating certain effects and areas on your map. I named these “special textures“. They are not transition textures, base textures , Cliff textures or any texture that you “paint” on your map. They look like this.


These textures are designed to create marks on a pavement, sport fields, paths or crops. Often you will see these textures sectioned in by roads or as part of a runway or pathway.




+++++++++++++++++++ Conclusion +++++++++++++++++++++

By now you are educated in the texturing fundamentals but how important are these techniques? Very important here is a map with basic texturing often the norm of most maps you would see . As you can see its not very interesting in terms of looks the only thing going for it really is the terrain but that’s for the next tutorial.





Now, that same map, same basic textures but with the use of transition textures. The map is a lot more alive eye appealing and makes you want to wage war on it.



In conclusion this will help you create maps that only play great but also look great. You have the understanding of transitions and by now, know they are important. You know how to apply them to your map and create an interesting and eye appealing atmosphere. This may be updated in the future with even more information. Enjoy and happy mapping!

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